Whatever about the elements, the shamrock will definitely be drowned more than it will be blessed even though the day is still officially one named after the island’s national saint. My son even told me he had to wear green at school rather than his uniform, despite his top being green, for ‘St’ Patrick’s Day. My more secular reference to it as Patrick’s Day he seemed not to notice. And I have no intention of changing how he refers to it.
Although religious in origin the day is a national holiday to be celebrated by all who regard themselves as Irish and, if they so choose, by those who are of some other nationality. It is as much a secular event as it is a religious one. People who prefer to drop the sainthood reference are free to do so, just as those who wish to retain it in their discourse are equally free. Hardly something for people to fall out over unless some want to ram their preference down the throats of others.
I noticed that in the US outrage is supposed to have been generated as a result of attempts by one school to rename the day O’Green Day so as to give it a more ‘inclusive and diverse’ feel. Lisa Curtin, the Irish American principal at the Soule Road School in Wilbraham, Massachusetts wanted to remove the Catholic overtones. Given that there are more people than Catholics celebrating the day, her ethos is not to be faulted. In February she did something similar when she rechristened (wrong term for the politically correct) Valentine’s Day as ‘Caring and Kindness Day’.
It is just that her choice of replacement term for St Patrick’s Day is a bit odd. She could easily have dropped the Saint term and left the name pretty much the same as it is but instantly recognisable. Some parents have criticised her actions as ‘political correctness gone too far’. While it certainly has a feel of that to it, O’Green Day seems to have more of an element of self-parody to it. It takes us uncomfortably close to imagery of Leprechauns and the like. Be that as it may, the day is one for the wearing of the green.
Legend for sure, as Ireland is not believed to have been home to snakes in the era of Patrick, but the man who we stage revelry in honour of tomorrow is hailed as having rid the country of that particular reptile. Pity they returned as the IMF and administered a severe dosage of austerity venom to society, paralysing the most vulnerable. Those who have it will drown the shamrock and the many who don’t will not be able to drown their sorrows.